Olson Burke/Sullivan Funeral & Cremation Center

Olson Burke Sullivan OBITUARIES

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Joseph Jerome Campion , Age: 83
December 13, 1936 -- November 17, 2020

For those of you who ever met our dad Joseph, you would assume he was the typical Chicago guy, which is true to a degree...

Our dad was born in New York to Thomas Campion and Sarah Conroy, both immigrants from Ireland. His earliest memories were of his Brooklyn street, the Brownstone his parents owned and his mother’s family and friends who would always be popping by.

He was the youngest of three boys but, sadly, his older brothers, Thomas and James, died very young, leaving Dad an only child. 


The Campions moved to Illinois in the 50's so Thomas could help his ailing aunts with their farm in Sandwich, IL. And so, Joe’s life in Chicago began. The family settled on the West Side, where another first generation Irish beauty also lived, his future wife, Bernadette McNamara.

How we’ve been told by those who were there, Joe was very dapper, gentlemanly and treated my mother like a princess. They were, by all accounts, very much in love and this devotion remained steadfast throughout their marriage and our memories growing up. Joe always...ALWAYS gave Bernie a big kiss when he got home from work. He was her Joey. 

Our Dad was an electrician; a union guy, an Old Style after work kinda' guy. He stood 6ft 6-tall and looming, like a big lurch. Living in a house with three headstrong daughters and a wife who preferred the Tribune crosswords to breaking spirits, Joe carried on. Willingly or unwillingly, Dad took a backseat to our mom. He was the silent provider- out the door before dawn and back in time for dinner. He worked like clockwork. Responsible. Old school.

It wasn’t until our mom died that we were able to see who our dad really was. He wasn't simply a looming presence who yelled at us about leaving doors open, lights on, staying up too late or talking too loudly. Our mom's death revealed he was vulnerable, sensitive and surprisingly aware. He didnt just take a backseat; he was paying attention the whole time. 

We got nine years of Dad as a widower, though he was never the same without his Big Berna. And now, it was up to his three girls to provide for him. 

Julie, the oldest, the caregiver and the cook. Dad never missed an opportunity to get a free meal at Julie's house, and like a Roman Emperor, she’d get a thumbs up or thumbs down for her efforts. Did we mention he was direct? 

Sarah, the middle child and wayward traveler. She had the most patience for Dad and gave him the best shoulder rubs. He genuinely missed her and looked forward to her visits each summer.

Annie, his youngest and most like him. Though they often butted heads, she was very protective of him and sensitive of his vulnerabilities. They shared a special bond.

To Nora, Donovan, Benjamin, lil' Joe Campion, Isabel, Ian and Emmett, he could be a grumpy Grampa Joe on the ouside, yet soft and playful on the inside...though forever refusing to play BINGO.

To his few friends, he was simply Big Joe. 


To all, he will be missed.

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Olson Burke-Sullivan
Funeral & Cremation Center
6467 N Northwest Hwy
Chicago, IL 60631